Don't Win The Argument, Win The Battle!

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            Everyone learns to argue at a young age. Children in preschool argue over toys and having to share "their" toys such as:


"I want that toy!"

"No it's mine. I had it first!"

"No I did!"


            However, as we grow up, arguments can become more heated. Arguments also do not always have an easy solution as in preschool. It's not always as simple as one child plays with a toy for an hour and then the other child gets the toy.


            One day I was reading Thank You For Arguing by Jay Heinrichs and came across an important passage.


"To win a deliberative argument, don't try to outscore your opponent.

Try instead to get you way." (19)


            This passage really stuck with me. I don't need to defeat my opponent completely by embarrassing him or her, so they finally concede. All I need to do is get them to give in to my beliefs by the end of the argument. Since the passage was in the second chapter of the book, I was able to apply it to my writing for the rest of the semester, especially the rebuttal paper.


The rebuttal paper was a challenging paper. I couldn't simply talk about why my opponent was wrong and how strongly I disagreed with her point of view. Instead, I had to respect her side, but still show why I thought it was wrong; in an appropriate and respectful way though. I couldn't simply write, you idiot, what are you thinking. No, I had to show my side to try to get my own way which is convincing my opponent to concede to my idea. As Heinrichs states, "People often win arguments on points, only to lose the battle" (19). The goal for my paper was to convince my opponent to act on my beliefs. I didn't want to win the argument for the sake of winning. I wanted to win the battle, to make my beliefs present in my high school for the benefit of the current students. With more knowledge of arguing, it is possible for anyone to get his or her way.


            The passage also made me ponder what exactly was a "deliberate argument." After looking the in Appendix II, I found that it is an "argument made about choices" (298). Many arguments are about choices; where to eat, what movie to watch, where to go on vacation. In my rebuttal paper, there were choices. There were choices of whether to keep a new school policy or to return to the old policy. I was arguing one of the choices while my opponent agued the other choice. It was a deliberate argument where I thought my choice was the proper choice. However, I needed to remember to win the battle and not the argument.


            There are many little helpful tidbits in Thank You For Arguing. It has helped me with my writing this year and made me a better arguer. Just remember, try to get your way, not score the most points.

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About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by KAITLYNN JANE HAMATY published on December 6, 2012 2:13 PM.

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